Manchester United won their fifth round match of the FA Cup by beating Huddersfield Town 2-0 away from home. Their next rival is Sevilla in the first leg of the Champions League first knockout round. The Spanish side won their away game in La Liga this weekend, beating Las Palmas 2-1.
It was a comfortably won match in which Sevilla got the lead through Wissam Ben Yeder in first half, while Pablo Sarabia doubled it five minutes after the break. Las Palmas got their consolation goal when Jonathan Calleri scored after 82 minutes.
So how are Sevilla doing this season? What should Manchester United pay attention to and what are the Spanish side’s biggest qualities and weaknesses.
Sevilla Missing Goals
Sevilla are currently sitting in fifth place in La Liga, after Villarreal dropped two points on Sunday. They are now the closest to the Champions League places, but it will be a real challenge for them to get there in the end. One of the reasons is that in fourth place are Real Madrid, while Valencia in third is seven points away. The Champions League is a big task.
That is why they might want to try and make their mark in this season’s edition of the competition. Sevilla have not been as good in La Liga this season, while in the Champions League they came through from a group in which they played with Liverpool. Many people still remember their comeback against the Merseyside team when they trailed 3-0 but managed to get a point in a Istanbul-like second half.
The Andalusian side is having problems with scoring goals this season. A big reason for that lies in the club losing players like Vitolo and Luciano Vietto to Atletico Madrid, while the loans of Stevan Jovetic and Samir Nasri have ended.
That means Sevilla scored only 31 goals in 24 matches. A ratio of 1.29 goals per match is worse than the ill-famed ratio of Manchester United during last Premier League term when they were scoring a mere 1.42 goals per match. Ten teams have scored more goals than Sevilla this season, including 13th-placed Real Sociedad. That is never a good sign, but with strikers they have, that might not be as big of a surprise.
Their best goalscorer has obviously been Ben Yedder, with six in La Liga. He has 12 in all competitions, as he scored six goals in six Champions League matches. But except for the Frenchman, there have not been many goals coming from other players. Luis Muriel and Sarabia have each scored five in La Liga, while teams like Celta have even two players with 10+ goals.
They Were Better Last Season
Sevilla are not even close as good this season as they were last term. And it was then that Leicester City won over two legs in the same stages of the Champions League. The Spanish side already lost nine La Liga games and have a negative goal difference of -4. That means there are plenty of issues in Vincenzo Montella’s side and it is tough seeing them all resolved in two legs against Manchester United.
However, United still need to be careful, as Sevilla showed they know how to comeback against bigger opposition, but Jose Mourinho’s team should have enough about them to reach the quarterfinals.